Jody makes it to Paris through sun and rain
A DOWNEND man has completed a 400-mile cycling challenge through the extremes of summer weather to raise money for a health charity.
Jody Lowe reaches Paris at the end of his fundraising cycle ride from Bristol
Jody Lowe, a former primary school teacher who now works as an educational adviser, has taken on a series of challenges since recovering from a major heart attack at the age of 35, in 2010.
His latest was a cycle ride from Bristol to Paris to raise money for the British Lung Foundation.
He cycled the first 108 miles solo from Bristol to London before meeting up with a team of British Lung Foundation fundraisers for the next three days of the ride.
The ride from London to Dover saw the cyclists enduring energy-sapping heat, on a day when the UK's highest-ever temperature was recorded at the end of July.
Jody said: "The heat had an incredible effect on our average speed. We had frequent water stops to top our bottles up but these were proving useless, as the water was heating up inside the bottles as we rode. Prior to lunch the three of us took a 12-mile diversion, due to a local villager moving our directional signs, in a bid to stop cyclists passing through his village!"
After waiting in the sun for a delayed ferry, the group then rode the six miles from Calais to their hotel in a thunderstorm.
The next day saw them ride 103 miles through the French countryside in a more manageable 28C, including six miles over filling-shaking cobbles, before the final leg from Amiens to Paris, which started in another thunderstorm, followed by torrential rain and "relentless" winds for most of the journey.
Arriving on the final day of the Tour de France, the group's final ride was an escorted procession down the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde and around the Eiffel Tower.
Jody said: "We stopped, took some pictures and celebrated what we had done.We cycled through the hottest day on record, the wettest day I've ever known and side winds up to 24 mph. Despite punctures, hunger, thirst and some mechanical issues, we made it!
"I would like to thank everyone who supported me, my girlfriend Abi for her continued encouragement and show gratitude for my trusty cycle, which never failed once from start to finish!"
The British Lung Foundation researches lung conditions, runs a helpline, support groups and online help, while also raising awareness and campaigning for change to tackle causes of lung disease.
To donate to Jody’s charity challenge, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/jody-lowe1 online.